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The tale of "Susan Jane," the perennial outcast.
This movie is part of the collection: Prelinger Archives
Producer: Centron Productions
Audio/Visual: Sd, B&W
Keywords: Social guidance; Psychology; Gender roles
Creative Commons license: Public Domain
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Well, once again, the film means well, but it fails to recognize or even consider that school-yard popularity is not always based on something meaningful. Kids ostracize each other over clothes, financial status, race, how their parents look and dress, and all kinds of other things and some kids will NEVER be accepted. A kid can be pefectly "nice" and still made the object of torment. It just isn't as simple as this film makes it out to be.
On a side note, this girl also stars in "The Snob" where she's a bit older but plays the same kind of character.
The girl had a nice room and a mother who seemed to care, yet how many years was Susan suffering as an outsider? Didn't her mother notice before this that the girl had no peers to socialize with? This 1951 script is a bit contrived for adults, but for the youngsters of the early 1950's, it might have been helpful.
Subject: I know what her problem is...
Maybe Susan Jane would feel better about herself if that berating disembodied voice wouldn't keep following her everywhere she goes....Jeez, no wonder the kid has issues!
Subject: The Outsider
Early Centron "discussion" film. The narrator sounds like he has a cold.
Subject: Suzie Creamcheese for sure
"Susan? Susan Jane! What's the matter, Susan?"
"Unlike all the other kids, I have an invisible narrator talking in my head..."
Subject: You bring the drinks, I'll bring the records
This is a good film that really gets down to a problem with perception.
Susan Jane thinks she is the outsider, but she has really placed that title on herself. This is a problem in the adolescent world that has yet to be solved. Perhaps Susan Jane is a bit too paranoid. She really has a self-esteem problem. What I like is the fact that the film encourages other children to reach out to others like Susan Jane. I'm not so sure that would happen in the schoolhouse today. Kids can be so cruel, sometime.
This film had to have been shot in the south. The accents are over the top sometime.
Plus, we get a sneak peak of the childhood obesity problem. Junior better cutback on the party snacks! He never did get that Super Duper Special he ordered, and perhaps its a good thing.
Subject: Susan! Susan Jane!
Poor Susan Jane, the girl with the serious parting of the hair JUST can't seem to fit in! You see, she's convinced that everyone is talking about her behind her back! The funny thing is, that they ARE, they're wondering how they can be friends with her! OHhhhh! Marcie, the team leader it seems, plans a party, and wants to invite Susan Jane, but because of a misunderstanding, Susan Jane thinks they want to invite her to laugh at her! LOL! Marcie comes over to talk with Susan Jane, but when she gets there, she talks to Susan Jane's mom first. The scene is so badly constructed that Marcie somehow talks to Susan Jane's Mom's chest. Pretty soon, everything's resolved, thank goodness. 'Do you know a boy or girl like Susan Jane?' If you know a BOY like Susan Jane, well, seek counselling. Reccomended!
Christine Hennig -
Subject: The Outsider
Shy Susan Jane feels "different" from everybody else and like she doesn't fit in with the kids at her school. She overhears plans about a big party at Marcie's house, but since the kids never think of her, she is not included in the plans. Then she overhears two girls talking about somebody they would never, ever want to invite to their party, because she's "such a creep." Susan Jane immediately assumes they're talking about her, and runs home in tears. It turns out, though, that they were talking about a snooty teacher, and Marcie actually wants to invite Susan Jane to the party, because she's curious about her. When she calls up and invites Susan Jane, Susan Jane abruptly hangs up on her, assuming that the gang just wants her to come over so they can make fun of her. Fortunately, Marcie is persistent. She comes over to Susan Jane's house and clears up the misunderstanding with her. Susan Jane decides to go to the party after all, realizing that this is her Big Chance to Fit In. This film is actually quite touching, with its twangy-voiced amateur teenage actors. It covers much of the same ground as Habit Patterns, but in a much nicer and more psychologically accurate way. The film, and especially the discussion questions at the end, implies that both Susan Jane and the other kids need to change in order to resolve this situationÂÂSusan Jane needs to become friendlier and more pleasant to be with, and the gang needs to think of her and give her a chance. What a refreshing change from most social guidance films, which usually assume that it's all the individual's fault.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: ****. Also available on The Educational Archives, Vol. 2: Social Engineering 101.